Under the theme of “Make Walking Safe”, the Second UN Global Road Safety Week 2013, is being celebrated worldwide from 6 to 12 May. On Thursday 9 March, Sudanese children marched through the streets of Khartoum calling for pedestrian safety with representatives of WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, and Alfaisal Cultural Center.
In developing countries, children make up a high proportion of pedestrian fatalities – many on their routes to and from school. This is due in part to their size relative to vehicles, limitations in judgment in terms of the speed or distance of a vehicle, and a lack of supervision.
In Sudan, children account for 14% of road traffic fatalities, as per the Global Road Safety Report 2013. Pedestrian deaths constituted more than a third of road traffic deaths (33%) in Sudan.
The programme for the day to raise awareness of road safety commenced in the Children’s Library of Alfaisal Cultural Center, where individuals received messages on pedestrian safety; co-reflectors were distributed to children and their use explained.
The Week offers a unique opportunity to draw attention to the needs of pedestrians; generate action on measures to protect them; and contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to save 5 million lives. Given that we know what works to protect pedestrian lives and make walking safe, it is the duty of governments around the world to take the urgent action needed. The National Road Safety Council in Sudan has showed great commitment to improving road safety, through the implementation of the national road safety strategy that has been set and prioritized by all involved sectors.
WHO has assisted in highlighting many of the measures which are urgently needed to better protect pedestrians. These include:
- adopting and enforcing new and existing laws to reduce speeding and curb drink-driving;
- putting in place infrastructure such as sidewalks, raised crosswalks, refuge islands, speed bumps, rumble strips and roadway lighting;
- improving mass transit route design;
- and enhancing trauma care systems to guarantee the prompt treatment of those with life-threatening injuries
Leaflets providing information on pedestrian safety were disseminated to drivers and passersby during the march. To improve awareness, a session on pedestrian safety was delivered after the march in Alfaisal Cultural Center by the Ministry of Health road safety focal point, Dr Suad Eltahir.